Honda Engines Cope with Texas Heat Following a night qualifying session on Thursday, a pair of practice sessions Friday at Texas Motor Speedway completed Indy Racing League IndyCar Series preparations for the Bombardier...
Honda Engines Cope with Texas Heat
Following a night qualifying session on Thursday, a pair of practice sessions Friday at Texas Motor Speedway completed Indy Racing League IndyCar Series preparations for the Bombardier Learjet 500, the first of three Saturday night races on the 2006 IRL schedule.
Once again, Indianapolis 500 winner and pole qualifier Sam Hornish Jr. led the field in the final practice, followed by his Marlboro Team Penske teammate and current championship leader Helio Castroneves. Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon ran third and fourth fastest around the 1.5-mile Texas oval, followed by the Fernandez Racing duo of Scott Sharp and Kosuke Matsuura.
As in qualifying, just one-half second separated the top 18 cars on the time sheet. Despite the 100-degree temperatures, the Honda Indy V-8 engines have continued to perform flawlessly with nine drivers -- including Hornish -- using the same engine for the third consecutive race weekend.
The engine in Hornish's pole-winning car is the same HI6R he used to win at Indy and throughout the Watkins Glen race weekend June 1-3. The engine was only changed out following qualifying here in Texas as it approached its 1,200-mile service limit.
Other drivers using their Indy/Watkins Glen engine through qualifying this weekend included Wheldon (second fastest in qualifying); Indy runner-up Marco Andretti; and Matsuura. All received a fresh HI6R powerplant for the race, and are expected to use that engine through testing next week at Kansas Speedway and the June 22-24 race weekend at Richmond International Raceway.
The sixth round of the 14-race 2006 IndyCar season -- and the first of three Saturday night races -- starts at 9 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ESPN.
Robert Clarke (President, Honda Performance Development) on Honda engine performance in Texas: "Once again, we are extremely pleased with the performance and reliability of the Honda Indy V-8s. We are meeting and exceeding all of the goals we established for ourselves at the start of the season, and that is a credit to everyone at HPD and our technical partners at Ilmor."